More Wills are being challenged in the Courts than ever before. The process of contesting a will is highly stressful and can be extremely costly. The increase in Will disputes shows that more time and effort needs to go into their preparation. Wherever possible, you should prepare your Will so that it is very difficult to challenge, whilst sticking to procedures.
A good example of the problems that can emerge in a will contest is made in the recent case of Key v Key.
The facts of this particular case without Mr Key changed his Will shortly after his wife of 65 years passed away. Not long after he passed away himself. He had four children, and all of his previous Wills had made his two sons beneficiaries, but not his two daughters. However, the Will that he made after his wife passed away said that his daughters should receive some of his estate. Mr Key had owned a family farm that his sons had worked on for years; so they felt they had more of a right to his Estate than their sisters.
The case was taken to Court and the Judge ruled in favour of Mr Key’s sons. The Judge said that Mr Key had lacked the required testamentary capacity to make the Will he made shortly after his wife had passed away. The case presented by the two sons placed great emphasis on the fact that the death of Mr Key’s wife had been a highly distressing time for him, and hence he did not have the appropriate capacity to alter his Will.
The Key v Key case shows how important it is for a person’s Will to be prepared properly. Thorough preparation will prevent any future problems such as family disputes arising when the owner of the Will passes away.
Though it can be costly and time consuming, it is essential that all necessary checks are made and that there is evidence of mental capacity before any changes are made to a person’s Will.
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